It came as a relief and refreshment to read that some of our more discerning politicians and maybe the American people as a whole are catching on to the endless boondoggle known as the Eisenhower Memorial -- which for the moment is more of a memorial to its over-praised and certainly over-priced architect.
When last heard from, this gigantic irrelevance had gone from metallic monstrosity with no clear connection to the spirit and achievements of a great wartime commander and peacetime president to just another
But the whistle is finally being blown on over-celebrated architect
That this was supposed to be a monument to
But if this monument isn't worthy of Ike, what would be? For that matter, what's the purpose of erecting national memorials in general? Let us take our cue, and a clue, from the designers of the monument to the heroes of United Flight 93, which came to its fighting end above a field in
Here is how
Timeless in simplicity and beauty,
like its landscape, both stark and serene,
the Memorial should be quiet
in reverence, yet powerful in form,
a place both solemn and uplifting.
It should instill pride, and humility.
The Memorial should offer intimate
experience, yet be heroic in scale.
Its strong framework should be open
to natural change and allow
freedom of personal interpretation.
We want to restore life here,
to heal the land,
and nourish our souls.
In this place, a scrap yard
will become a gateway
and a strip mine will grow
into a flowering meadow.
But more than restoring health,
the Memorial should be radiant . . .
However you would describe
No wonder a congressional committee called the whole project a "five-star folly," and it's been bogged down ever since in bureaucratic infighting.
The House, bless its heart and good sense, has refused to appropriate another cent -- not a penny! -- for this memorial's construction or operation until changes are made. Sweeping changes like stopping the whole project and starting again.
The best idea of all is to shut down the whole project and begin all over again with a new competition for a new design. The
It would be different if this memorial had the simplicity and grace -- and the power to move us -- of
This country's architects and designers are still capable of great work -- decorous and fitting, gracious and natural -- even if superstars like
Our history can speak for itself, just as our heroes can be remembered on their own merits if our memorials will just reflect their greatness -- instead of promoting their architects.